Sprouting Spiritual Growth

A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling

Non-Fiction - Self Help
172 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2017
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Author Biography

In 2009 Marie left corporate America after more than 15 years in Human Resources Management to pursue life. Before long she became a massage therapist.
Having only one previous experience with receiving massage before choosing her new career, she began school with no real understanding of the body, mind and spirit connection. With massage, she came to quickly believe in the healing power of touch. At the same time, she felt a partial hardening of the heart (figuratively and spiritually). She found a coach to give her spiritual direction.
During this time, she learned different ways to pray which helped her to develop a more personal relationship with God*. It was during 2009 when she became an active journaling person. This activity has grown and changed over the years, but the most constant thing she has put into practice is that, after writing what’s on her heart, she writes both this question: "God*, what else should I know?" and the answers that result.
She presents on a variety of topics concerning the body, mind and spirit connection. For example, as a small business owner and provider of healing touch, she speaks about smart practices for leading a balanced life. Most recently she has been teaching spiritual journaling and other ways to pray and develop our inner spirit wisdom. Venues include schools, especially colleges and universities, women’s groups (large and small), and holistic centers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite

Sprouting Spiritual Growth: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling by Marie Higgins would be “timely” for a reader regardless of where s/he is on life’s journey. Higgins tells of her period of feeling separated from God, and of feeling a growing separation from those around her. Many could identify. The difference for Higgins is that she took a giant leap of faith—one that resulted in some financial and personal difficulties for her and family—and left the corporate world for a different life. As she struggled with new challenges and even with injuries along the way, her new path was hardly an “easier” one—at least at the outset. But her spiritual journaling along the way provided her with the fodder she needed to manage new crises as they arose. Consequently, Higgins found and maintained a grateful heart, and her faith and overall life satisfaction grew.

Everyone faces trying times. With discontent in one area of life can come confusion and chaos in others. So Higgins illustrates in Sprouting Spiritual Growth. Moreover, it is hard to set aside a hardened heart. It is difficult to choose another path, one that might lead to the way out of the desert, when one is disappointed, hurt, or angry (or all of the above!). It can seem almost impossible, as one holds tightly to past hurts, thinking they are cushioning themselves from even more disappointment and pain as they separate from those around them. But eventually that way, too, becomes unmanageable. Higgins proposes a way out that anyone can take: to journal about anything and everything, asking God along the way: “What do you want me to know about this?”

If one can take the step required to be open to hearing the answers, Sprouting Spiritual Growth illustrates one way for discovering how and where and when those answers may be found. The process could be as simple as starting a program for walking meditation; taking note of events that stand out because they are repetitive; or even concentrating on words that stand out—or “shimmer”—for the reader (which really just means that the word conveys an idea the reader might further consider or explore, as God may have a message about it). Often books that are intended to help readers to bring change to their lives only exasperate those readers more, as they leave them feeling inadequate, or as though the “answers” are only there for others. Fortunately, Marie Higgins did not fall into this trap. She meets her reader right where her reader is. And, after all, isn’t that what we know (at least intellectually, even when we feel our heart is hardened) about God? In this way, I believe Sprouting Spiritual Growth will prove to be a helpful—nonjudgmental and motivational—guide for many.

Melinda Hills

If you are one of the many people searching for a way to develop a deeper and more rewarding spiritual practice, Sprouting Spirituality: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling by Marie Higgins is a wonderful place to start. Based on her own experiences, Higgins shares her personal journey as she struggled to find God’s meaning for her life. Describing the work she did with a Spiritual Director, who helped her identify a variety of ways to look for God’s message, Higgins discusses meditation, types of prayer, and spiritual journaling. For Higgins, journaling became quite important as she has been able to look back and discover patterns, themes, and see her own growth in becoming closer to the spiritual person she desires to be. Although God is the higher power Marie Higgins refers to in Sprouting Spirituality, the beauty of this book is that it can refer to any Supreme Deity or Universal power greater than ourselves. Anyone from any background can benefit from the meditation and peace Higgins shares with us.

Ten chapters provide a guide for realizing that something is missing in your life and how to ‘pull back the weeds’ to get to the truth and beauty you yearn for. Each chapter in Sprouting Spirituality ends with questions designed to help you focus on the content of the chapter and provide a starting point for journaling – writing down your thoughts, wishes, dreams and questions. Another significant feature of these questions is that for each, Higgins suggests that you ask God what else He wants you to know, thereby developing a closer, more direct relationship with your higher power and training you to listen for direction, instead of feeling that you have to make all the decisions and choices on your own. An index provides many tips and resources that can be added to your study. Sprouting Spirituality: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling by Marie Higgins is a well written, easy to follow guide for anyone looking for spiritual direction in their lives by developing a closer relationship with a higher power.

Jack Magnus

Sprouting Spirituality: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling is a non-fiction inspirational self-help book written by Marie Higgins. The author’s life took a definite and sudden change in direction when she realized that the job she had excelled at for over 15 years was not her passion -- and she took steps to change it. Both she and her husband had found that their careers were not really as personally satisfying as they had hoped. Each of them was resolved to make the break and start a new career, one that would be more fulfilling, but they kept on putting it off year after year. Finally, Marie made that break. It seemed the only way she could make it happen, especially after her own health scare and the tragic loss of her husband’s sister to illness. She decided to become a certified, state-licensed massage therapist, but getting there, surviving financially, and coping with her husband’s lack of support for her impromptu resignation of her job led to new stresses that were challenging. She sought support from a spiritual director and began blogging and writing journal entries about her life and experiences. In this book, she discusses her journey and shares her techniques for Spiritual Journaling. Each chapter covers a topic and concludes with a number of Chapter Questions and Topics for readers to use for their own journaling adventure. Higgins also includes a number of her poems and an Index, which includes Ways to Pray, and Recommended Readings and Resources.

Marie Higgins’ non-fiction inspirational self-help book, Sprouting Spirituality: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling is a well-written and informative work that addresses the spiritual element in life and decision-making, and shows how spiritual guidance can be gained through journal writing. Each chapter proceeds smoothly from one to the next, and the topics that conclude the chapters nicely sum up the salient points and help guide the reader’s adaptation of them into their own journaling. I especially appreciated the author’s personal approach to each topic, both through describing her own situation and relevant poetry, as well as her emphasis that Spirituality includes the reader’s own personal belief system, rather than that of a specific religion. While Higgins refers to God in her writing and in the recurring question about what God wants her to know, she stresses that she uses that term as a universal one, and that it’s up to the reader to decide if Higher Power, Great Spirit, or some other term is more personally appropriate. Anyone who is considering a change in their private or professional life will find much in this workbook to help them navigate the often treacherous waters of indecision, doubt and lack of confidence encountered when making a major life decision. Marie Higgins has been there, and she shares her experiences in this thoughtful and motivational work. Sprouting Spirituality: A Memoir and Guide to Spiritual Journaling is most highly recommended.